Certain groups of veterans suffer high rates of hunger, including veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The Department of Veterans Affairs is taking matters into its hands and will begin screening all vets who visit VA health care facilities for hunger. They will do this by asking whether they have struggled to afford food in the past three months.
Multiple studies show that veterans’ rates of hunger and poverty are lower than those in the general population, so the problem has largely gone unnoticed. It is estimated, however, that 39,000 veterans were homeless in 2016, which makes access to food extremely difficult.
Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars suffer from food insecurity at more than double the national rate, according to a 2015 paper published by the journal Public Health Nutrition.
Experts also hope that this screening process will address other diet-related health issues like depression and diabetes, since studies have shown that the hungry also tend to have problems in these areas.